V. K. Krishna Menon, B. A., B. Sc., M. A., M. Sc., Bar. at Law [വി. കെ. കൃഷ്ണമേനോന്‍, ബി. എ., ബി. എസ്. സി., എം. എ., എം. എസ്. സി., ബാര്‍. അറ്റ് ലോ / வி. கெ. க்றிஷ்ண மேனோன், பி. எ., பி. எஸ். ஸி., எம். எ., எம். எஸ். ஸி., பாற். அட் லோ / वि. के. कृष्ण मेनोन्, बि. ए., बि. एस्. सि., एं. ए., एं. एस्. सि., बार्. अट् लो]

(3rd May 1896 - 6th October 1974)


Stamps issued on 24th October 1975 (Sc# 698, SG# 786) and 6th October 1997.

Minister of Defence for India, 17th April 1957 - 31st October 1962.

Speeches

  • Statement on Jammu and Kashmir in the United Nations Security Council, New York, on 23rd January 1957 (Parts I; II; III)
  • Other Statements
  • On Racial Discrimination in South Africa; The Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo

    Chronology

  • Komathu Krishna Kurup, B. A. [കോമത്തു് കൃഷ്ണക്കുറുപ്പു്, ബി. എ.] (d. 1935), Ayancheri, Vadakara (Vakil, Ervatamadam, Tellicherry, 1889-1933; Son of the Raja of Kartanad [കടത്തനാടു്]); Vengalil Lakshmi Kutty Amma [വെങ്ങാലില്‍ ലക്ഷ്മിക്കുട്ടിയമ്മ] (d. 1911), Panniyankara, Calicut (Grand-daughter, through her mother, of Raman Menon, Dewan of തിരുവിതാങ്കൂര്‍ [Travancore], 1815-1817)
  • Municipal Secondary School, Tellicherry
  • Brennen High School, Tellicherry (1909-1910)
  • Native [Ganapat Rao] High School, Calicut (1910-1912)
  • Intermediate; Zamorin's College, Calicut (1912-1915)
  • B. A. (History and Economics) with Second Class; Presidency College, Madras (1915-1918)
  • Anne Besant; Home Rule League; Theosophical Society
  • B. L. (dropped out); Law College, Madras (1918-1920)
  • Scout Commissioner, Malabar-Cochin (1920-1923); 1920 Club; Social Service League
  • Teacher's diploma in history, St. Christopher's School, Letchworth, London (1924-1925)
  • Harold J. Laski (Chairman, Labour Party, 1944-1945)
  • B. Sc. (Political Science) with First Class Honours; London School of Economics and Political Science (1925-1927)
  • Secretary, The India League, 156, The Strand, London (1928-1947)
  • Labour Party of the United Kingdom (1934-1941; 1944-1947)
  • M. A. (Psychology) with First Class Honours; University College, London; Thesis: `An Experimental Study of the Mental Processes involved in Reasoning' (1928-1930)
  • Condition of India: being a Report of the Delegation sent to India by the India League in 1932; Members: Monica Whately MP, Ellen Wilkinson MP, Leonard W. Matters MP, and V. K. Krishna Menon; India League, London, 1933.
  • M. Sc. (Political Science) with First Class Honours; London School of Economics and Political Science; Thesis: `English Political Thought in the Seventeenth Century' (1932-34)
  • Barrister at Law; Middle Temple (1934)
  • Borough Councillor, Ward 4, St. Pancras, London (1934-1947); Camden Town, Freeman of the Borough (1955)
  • Editor, Twentieth Century Library, The Bodley Head (1934)
  • Founder, Penguin and Pelican Books (together with Allen Lane) (1935); Editor: Pelican Series; Paperback publishing
  • Air Raid Warden, St. Pancras (1940-1944)
  • Labour Party resolution on Indian Independence (December 1944); Victory of the Labour Party in the General Elections (July 1945)
  • High Commissioner of India, London (1947-1952); Retirement
  • Deputy Leader of the Delegation to the United Nations, New York [Leader: Vijayalakshmi Pandit] (1952-1953)
  • Leader of the Delegation to the United Nations, New York (1953-1962)
  • Non-alignment
  • 19, Teen Murti Marg, New Delhi.
  • Member of the Rajya Sabha from Madras Legislative Council (1953-1957)
  • Bandung Conference, 18-24 April 1955
  • Cabinet Minister without portfolio [Prime Minister: Jawaharlal Nehru] (1956-1957)
  • Indian National Congress Member of the Lok Sabha for North Bombay (1957-1967) defeating Peter Alvarez (PSP) (margin: 48,000 votes) (1957)
  • Minister of Defence for India [Prime Minister: Jawaharlal Nehru] (17 Apr. 1957 - 31 Oct. 1962)
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (1958)
  • Sainik School (1961)
  • Annexation of Goa (1961)
  • First Non-aligned conference, Belgrade, 1-6 September 1961
  • Election in North Bombay 1962: J. B. Kripalani (PSP) vs. V. K. Krishna Menon (INC) (margin: 145,000 votes)
  • Sino-Indian War (1962)
  • Indo-Pakistan War (1965) [Minister of Defence: Y. B. Chavan]
  • Formation of the Shiv Sena to oppose Menon's campaigns in Bombay with implicit acquiescence of S. K. Patil (1966)
  • Denial of ticket from Bombay by the Indian National Congress (the Syndicate) on grounds of his being a non-Maharashtrian, resignation from the Congress, and loss (twice) as Independent candidate in North-East Bombay against S. G. Barve (margin: 13,500 votes) and against Barve's sister (margin: 15,000 votes) consequent to Barve's sudden demise from cardiac arrest (1967)
  • Independent Member of the Lok Sabha for Midnapore, West Bengal (1969-1971)
  • Indo-Pakistan War (1971) [Minister of Defence: Jagjivan Ram]
  • Independent Member of the Lok Sabha for Trivandrum, Kerala (1971-1974)

    Jawaharlal Nehru and V. K. Krishna Menon


    Nehru and Menon (at left, with Indira Nehru in the middle; at right, with Home Minister G. B. Pant in the middle)

    Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti Bhavan, Teen Murti Marg, New Delhi

    `The only man to lead India into the modern world is Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi can't do this. Nehru has a modern scientific mind.'
    -- V. K. Krishna Menon, during his first meeting with Marie Seton in 1932 (quoted in `Panditji: a portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru', p. 66, by Marie Seton).

    `You know how I have valued not only our personal relations but the advice I have had from you. But neither of us perhaps can uproot himself from his own approach to matters and, as a consequence, what should be done in a particular set of circumstances. We have to decide for ourselves. I would not like to press you to do something which you dislike, just as I am sure you would feel the same way about me. But we should certainly try to understand each other's viewpoint and try to explain one's own and thus influence the other's thinking.'
    -- Jawaharlal Nehru, writing to V. K. Krishna Menon, 15th May 1958, (quoted in `Jawaharlal Nehru: A biography', Volume III, 1956-1964, Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 130, by Sarvepalli Gopal).

    `With the possible exception of Krishna Menon, Nehru no longer has close Indian friends.'
    -- Michael Brecher, in `Nehru: A Political Biography', 1959, p. 615.

    "It is not because of humility or of an inferiority complex that I avoid the subject [of friendship with Panditji from the early 1930s onwards]. The whole question is too large for me to understand it. As for speaking about nuances of a relationship of a personal nature, ... it cannot rise above my own ideas of loyalty in personal relations. I don't discuss these matters with anybody. You may say that the world is poorer for my silence; I cannot help it. I think I should keep quiet.

    Panditji was not a superman; he was not a god or anything like that; he was a human-being like all of us and very much of a full-blooded individual. He was impulsive; he came into Government very much an amateur... Though I have been close to him in many ways, I have lived abroad for many years. I think that the wisest thing for me to do is to keep my mouth shut. That is how I feel. I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful, but what can I do?

    I do not think Panditji's affection for me or my relationship with Panditji affected him in the way you imply. I was neither a buffoon nor a Rasputin. I understood his mind, or rather he thought I did, even if this may not have been the case. I do not believe in what is called autobiography; that is what it really comes to. Autobiographies tend to portray the world in a distorted way; you think you made everything because that is all you know! It really seems to me somewhat inappropriate that I should speak about my relations with Panditji.

    If you go round the Prime Minister's house you won't see any photographs of mine over there; if you look at his `Bunch of Old Letters' you won't see any letters of mine there. He made very few public references to me. That was how our relationship was. Even when I resigned, in explaining it to Parliament Panditji did not discuss any personal aspect of the matter. I am not resenting it; that was the type of relationship we had. With me being the kind of person I am it does not lend itself to the kind of treatment you suggest. I can't explain it myself and I don't want to. If I did, you would only get a distorted picture of it."

    -- V. K. Krishna Menon, in Michael Brecher, `India and World Politics: Krishna Menon's View of the World', 1968, pp. 289-290.

    Selected excerpts from various sources

    "Asserting that the agitation for a Malayalam-speaking State was a recent and artificial one and backed only by parties seeking `conquest of power', Krishna Menon alleged that the anticipated recommendation of the States Reorganisation Commission pertaining to the creation of separate Kerala and Tamil States was inspired by the personal views of one of the members of the Commission (the reference being to K. M. Panikkar), and said that the recommendation was inadvisable for economic, political, administrative, strategic, and national security reasons. As a sectarian sub-nationalism of fascist orientation was developing in the Tamil country, he argued, a separate Tamil province would be very anti-national, while the Kerala State would doubtless go Communist after the next general elections with disastrous domestic and international consequences. Krishna Menon added: `We will Balkanise India if we further dismember the State instead of creating larger units'.

    Sending his note to Nehru on September 28, 1955, Krishna Menon wrote: `I am more than ever convinced that it would be a short-term political view not to give this matter the consideration that its grave implications warrant'. He suggested the creation of `a Southern State, a Dakshin Pradesh, as a corollary to Uttar Pradesh, which could include the present Tamil Nadu, Travancore, Cochin, Malabar and possibly Kanara up to Kasaragode'. He argued that the base of India should be heavy enough to prevent national disruption and also enable sound administration and industrial development.

    Krishna Menon said that because the Commission had sat in private and had not had the advantage of public criticism and ventilation of views and also because public feelings on its recommendations were very strong, these should not be precipitatedly implemented, but accepted piecemeal after allowing free discussion. He cautioned that seeking `to rush it before the elections... would be an ill-fated course to take and one from which it will be difficult to retract'.

    Nehru circulated this note among selected Cabinet colleagues (G. B. Pant, C. D. Deshmukh, T. T. Krishnamachari) adding that it was `rather emotionally worded' and that he was not sending it to all members of the Cabinet. To Menon he wrote on 14 October: `Nobody here likes the proposal for a Kerala State as suggested. We do not think that the Communists will get a majority there. That is possible, but I think not likely. Anyway, if they get it, we have to face the risk. But, this apart, I am sure that it will be bad for Kerala and for its neighbouring States. But what are we to do? No other neighbouring State agrees to have Kerala; Kamaraj Nadar and the Madras Cabinet absolutely refuse to have anything to do with it. So do the Karnataka people'. Later, he wrote again on 9 November: `I circulated your note to a number of my colleagues in the Cabinet. Many of them agreed with you. But I am afraid you do not quite appreciate the kind of forces we have to contend against in India at the present moment. When you suggest that States should become merely administrative divisions and far greater power should be concentrated in the Centre, you say something which is utterly beyond anyone's capacity to do at the present moment... It is almost impossible to have a Southern Province, much as we would like it. We have tried our best and failed'."

    -- Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, Second Series, Vol. 30 (1 September -- 17 November, 1955) edited by H. Y. Sharada Prasad and A. K. Damodaran, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, distributed by Oxford University Press; pp. 249-250, 263-264.

    `[Krishna Menon is] by far the ablest and most outstanding figure in the United Nations. In carrying out India's policy, he comes into conflict with some policies of other countries and, because of his great ability, he creates an impression in the United Nations. This irritates others.'
    -- Jawaharlal Nehru, in note to Deputy Principal Information Officer, 9th January 1957, (quoted in `Jawaharlal Nehru: A biography', Volume III, 1956-1964, Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 129, by Sarvepalli Gopal.

    `There are some people in this country, and some people in other countries too, whose job in life appears to be to run down Mr. Krishna Menon, because he is cleverer than these people, and because his record of service for Indian freedom is far longer than theirs, and because he has worn himself out in the service of India. We do not run away from criticism. Mr. Krishna Menon's handling of the Kashmir case in the Security Council and the line he took there fully reflect our views on the subject. Mr. Menon has done his work brilliantly and most effectively.'
    -- Jawaharlal Nehru, speaking in Madras, 31st January 1957 (quoted in `Krishna Menon: A Biography', pp. 212-213, by T. J. S. George).

    `Unfortunately, Shri Menon has willingly allowed himself to be used, for all he is worth, by the Communist Party for the purpose of securing a commanding position in the very heart of the Central Government and the Congress Party... His victory would in effect be a victory of the Communist Party. On the other hand, though it might appear paradoxical, Kripalaniji's victory, even though he is fighting a Congress candidate, would be a victory for the values and ideals for which the Congress stood for in its best days under Gandhiji... It would be childish, therefore to believe that the issue involved is just one of somebody's defeat or victory or the Prime Minister's prestige. It is the future of Indian democracy and our spiritual values that are at stake.'
    -- Jayaprakash Narayan, 12th February 1962 (quoted in `The 1962 Election in North Bombay', pp. 120-137, by Norman D. Palmer).


    Bandung Conference, 18-24 April 1955.

    "Even if nobody conceived it, non-alignment was more or less a residue of historical circumstances. In 1945, immediately before India got her independence, it was all `one world'; but by 1947 it was `two worlds', and we, for the first time, had to make up our minds on the issue, how we would function and what we would do. We would not go back to the West with its colonialism; and there was no question of our going the Soviet way; we did not even know them much. And with the attaining of our independence we desired not to get involved in foreign entanglements. All these things entered into it. But it is not as though we sat around the table deciding how we should non-align ourselves! There were two blocks. Both the Prime Minister [Nehru] and I exclaimed or thought aloud simultaneously, `why should we be with anybody?'

    [The word `non-alignment'] I used much later-- spontaneously. We were ridiculed about being `neutral'. I said then, `We are not neutral; we are non-aligned. We are not aligned to either side, we are non-aligned.' In fact the Prime Minister didn't approve very much of the word at the beginning, but it had quickly gained currency... I think it was probably used some time in `53-`54... But the word `non-alignment' was first used at the United Nations.

    I don't know about ideals. There was ... the inevitability of it... There was the fact of independence itself. What is non-alignment? It is merely independence of external affairs. What are external affairs? They are only a projection of internal or national policy in the field of International Relations. [Non-alignment is the] logical extension of nationalism... and of the conflict between nationalism and military blocs, the fact that we had little in common with the raison d'etre of the blocs...

    There must be something, an `area of peace', I called it, not territorially, but politically, diplomatically, morally, etc... This is a policy of independence and peace; that is, materially speaking, a weak man's policy. In a sense,... it is like Gandhi's non-co-operation. In his weakness he invented an insrument which was stronger than anything else.

    India acquired [a degree of influence in the world] for several reasons, not only because we were non-aligned... (1) People trusted us... (2) We never hesitated to vote against one side or the other... [(3)] We were not frightened of American strength at the U. N.. Nehru allowed me-- in effect, he put me on-- to draw their fire. They have said some very sharp things about him too; it's all very well to pay tribute now that he is dead, but the abuse they hurled at him at various times was considerable...

    It established India not as a major power but as an important quantity in world affairs... It prevented us from becoming a satellite state... It has on several occasions put a brake on war-- though the Indo-China problem is still in a bad state, largely thanks to the United States... It also showed a way for the newly independent countries... I think non-alignment allowed us to strengthen ourselves, too. It gave us a considerable degree of self-confidence, inner-strength, things of that kind. It has been built up into a philosophy. I believe it also enabled us to strengthen our relations with China, whatever may have happened afterwards. It prevented, in my opinion, deterioration in regard to our relations with the Soviet Union. It certainly did not give us `leadership' over non-aligned people. That is where our own people misunderstand non-alignment. Non-alignment is not a bloc and is not a quip.

    I say that a non-aligned nation is non-aligned with the non-aligned... Otherwise where is independence?... It may be that a common view... may all lead us into a common lobby, but we won't by definition go there; affinity may take us there. That is the essence of non-alignment... They have their own policy. They have their own independence."

    -- V. K. Krishna Menon, in Michael Brecher, `India and World Politics: Krishna Menon's View of the World', 1968, pp. 3-4, 8-9, 12-13.

    "I think history alone will decide why an advancing army, which according to themselves was carrying everything before them, should have withdrawn. There are only three or four reasons one can think of: one is that we inflicted enormous casualties on them; the second is they realised that while they could gain pyrrhic victories in this way with enormous numbers and a great cost in lives, they really could not conquer India; a third reason is that they found the temper of India, the unity of India, the vast area of this land, a staggering revelation; a fourth reason is that on account of our foreign policy China found no sympathisers; she stood isolated in her own Warsaw bloc. We didn't make any ceasefire arrangements with China; they withdrew as `unilaterally' as they had come... But I cannot say that if something else had been done, things would have been any different; we did the best we could at the time."
    -- V. K. Krishna Menon, in Michael Brecher, `India and World Politics: Krishna Menon's View of the World', 1968, p. 175.

    `We have not done anything like that [a campaign in Mexico in which every literate man teaches an illiterate one] yet, although some people have talked about it. The Mexican pattern calls for certain social changes. There are a lot of people who come to tell us what to do [on adult education]. That itself has had a bad effect. One person even talked about projecting a film on a tree as though our main trouble was not being able to provide enough screens! In this country the simplest thing to do is to spread a lot of sand on the floor and write with your fingers. That is how I learned when I was just over two years old. And now we are inviting Mexicans, Argentinians, and Welshmen to teach us about adult education! Ours is a social and not merely an educational problem. We cannot afford to ignore either the time element or the extent of our economic resources.'
    -- V. K. Krishna Menon, in Michael Brecher, `India and World Politics: Krishna Menon's View of the World', 1968, pp. 283-284.

    `There is a tendency in our country to be so inward-looking as to forget altogether the contribution which the India League and Krishna made towards the cause of our country's freedom. We say that this struggle for Indian Independence was fought and won by India. Undoubtedly, it was fought and won in India; but Indian Independence was a product of negotiations and not of a revolutionary upheaval. It was a product of negotiations between the British on the one side and Indian nationalism on the other. More specifically, it was a result of negotiations between the British Labour Government and the Indian National Congress. Krishna's dedicated work through India League prepared the British Labour movement to accept Indian Independence; his work prepared intellectual opinion in Britain in favour of Indian Independence. He got the trade union movement to get committed to Indian Independence.'
    -- P. N. Haksar, in `Krishna: As I knew him', Broadcast, All India Radio, 6th October 1974.


    Presiding over the College day celebrations of Nirmala College, Muvattupuzha, 3rd February 1958.

    "The Education Bill was passed by the Kerala Assembly on 2nd September 1957 and forwarded to the President for his approval... Unexpectedly, in view of his general sympathy with left-wing movements, Krishna Menon, after a visit to Cochin (December 1957), reported that there was a considerable deterioration in the situation in Kerala. Far more sinister trends were developing than might be inferred from the seeming quiet on the surface and he expected conditions to become worse... Clearly his evaluation, rather than the perennial complaints of the local Congress and the Governor's reports, influenced Nehru, and the new year (1958) saw the Prime Minister more critical than before of the E. M. S. Namboodiripad Government... He continued to deprecate the recourse to violent methods by the opposition in Kerala, but now suggested that the state of tension and conflict were largely due to the attitude and activities of the Communist Party. He was once more reiterating his dislike of the Communist approach, its promotion of class bitterness and hatred, the rejection of accepted standards of public behaviour, and the proneness to seek guidance abroad. It was now his view that the Communists in Kerala were adopting the Leninist tactic of pretending to accept `bourgeois' democracy as a legitimate move in the struggle to establish Communist supremacy. `I don't want Communism here.'... In August (1958), for the first time Nehru spoke publicly in terms critical of the Kerala Government, and declared that he had not been convinced by their answers to the charges. He disliked the spiral of violent demonstrations leading to police firings and... sympathised with their predicament when surrounded by angry mobs. But he blamed the state Government for terrorising people, a development which had nothing to do with Communism and... was clear that the situation could not be ignored... A report by Krishna Menon on a visit to Kerala, which the state Government denounced as a `conducted tour', confirmed Nehru's attitude. Subsequent developments and information also lent support to his view that a considerable section of the people in Kerala had a feeling of `political insecurity' in the sense that some political parties were being harassed and others protected."
    -- Sarvepalli Gopal, in `Jawaharlal Nehru: A biography', Volume III, 1956-1964, Oxford University Press, 1984, pp. 57-58, 63-64.

    `As Minister for Defence, Krishna Menon brought to bear his great knowledge to strengthen national self reliance. Krishna Menon was to so modernise and indigenise our preparations for defence as to bring them on par with the best anywhere. After a decade of relative inaction, our defence industry acquired, under Menon, direction as well as momentum. Krishna Menon was the first to acknowledge that the defence production base, in the ultimate analysis, could not be divorced from the economic and industrial infrastructure of the country. Thanks to his great foresight and vision, we have now established the necessary infrastructure and expertise in various areas of interest.'
    -- R. Venkataraman, Minister of Defence for India, 1980-1984 (quoted in `A political paradigm' by V. R. Krishna Iyer).

    `India has been fortunate to have had not only a glorious heritage of culture and civilisation but a succession of great men from the Buddha to Gandhi, from Ashoka to Nehru, from Kautilya to Krishna Menon.'
    -- K. R. Narayanan, speaking in Bombay at a memorial lecture, 1984 (quoted in `A political paradigm' by V. R. Krishna Iyer).

    "That S. Radhakrishnan had no high opinion of Krishna Menon as defence minister was made evident when he directed Menon to bring the three chiefs of staff with him to explain the situation to the conference of governors then meeting in Delhi. He also suggested to Nehru on 23rd [October] afternoon that Menon should be moved from the defence ministry. When the prime minister argued that Menon was the only person who knew anything about defence, Radhakrishnan replied that, whatever Menon's ability, the country had no confidence in him. ... The American ambassador, Professor J. K. Galbraith, informed Radhakrishnan, whom he had never seen `so tough and angry', that the United States was willing to supply any equipment that might be needed but had yet received no request for military assistance. ... Nehru responded on 31 October with a half-measure. He took charge of defence with Menon continuing as minister for defence production. Radhakrishnan hinted that he regarded this step as inadequate: `Let us see how it works.' ... When Nehru saw the president on 7 November with two letters from Menon, pleading his innocence but offering to resign, Radhakrishnan advised Nehru to advise the president to accept the resignation. That evening Nehru informed the Congress parliamentary party that he was accepting the resignation; but thereafter, instead of formally recommending acceptance to the president, wrote a letter which requires quotation in full.

    `7 November 1962
    My dear President,
    I enclose copies of two letters I have received from Shri Krishna Menon offering his resignation from Government. I have already shown you these letters.
    I propose to write to him accepting his resignation after I learn your wishes in the matter. These wishes have been conveyed to me orally by you already. But I would be grateful if you would kindly repeat them in writing.
    Yours affectionately,
    Jawaharlal.'

    In other words, Nehru wished to leave the responsibility for the final decision to the president, with perhaps a subconscious hope for at least delay in, if not abandonment of, Menon's departure. Certainly the recognised procedure of the president acting on the advice of the prime minister was reversed. Radhakrishnan in his reply did not communicate his wishes but took a firm decision: `As you said, in the circumstances, for the sake of national unity we have to accept Shri Krishna Menon's resignation with regret. On hearing from you a formal announcement will issue from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.' The carefully drafted sentences maintained constitutional propriety by asserting that it was the prime minister who had suggested acceptance; but the door was firmly closed on any possibility of reconsideration. ... Lal Bahadur Shastri asked Radhakrishnan if Krishna Menon should be taken into the cabinet. Radhakrishnan pointed out informally the drawbacks of such a step and Shastri did not pursue the matter."
    -- Sarvepalli Gopal, in `Radhakrishnan: A biography', Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1989, pp. 312-315, 331.

    `He was undoubtedly the ablest Defence Minister the army ever had-- we owe him a tremendous debt, because but for him we would not have had a defence industry. He had vision and enormous drive. He could get things done. But his manner of doing things was what antagonised the army. Because we are an organisation where respect, honour, and tradition holds a great deal of importance. And we have to command people and we can't do it if someone denigrates you.'
    -- Lt. Gen. K. P. Candeth (quoted in `V. K. Krishna Menon: A Personal Memoir', 1997, p. 138, by Janaki Ram).

    "Late in 1956, [Krishna Menon] was in Madras... when Janaki Amma [his sister] who also happened to be visiting mentioned that some property adjoining one of the family properties was up for sale. Krishna immediately said that she should buy it up and annex it to the family's Kuttiyadi estate. Janaki Amma however said that it was likely that the Communists might come to power-- as indeed they did in Kerala in 1957-- in which case large estates were very likely to be nationalised. `Heavens no', responded Krishna, `People like us will have to run away if they did.' Later some of his apprehensions were proved correct when in 1970 the ruling Communist Ministry brought in sweeping land reforms as a politically expedient measure that pauperised an entire class and enriched none, for land was fragmented into economically unviable patches. Krishna Menon's views were that land reforms such as those introduced in Kerala had not worked earlier in Egypt and were not likely to in Kerala either."
    -- Janaki Ram, in `V. K. Krishna Menon: A Personal Memoir', 1997, pp. 63-64.

    `Krishna Menon's relationship with Indira Gandhi remained cordial, but he saw her as the young girl he had first met, and treated her as such. She sought his advice but, as T. N. Kaul the eminent diplomat recalls, did not always heed it. Menon could accept this from Pandit Nehru, but was more than a little annoyed when Mrs. Gandhi did the same thing. Indira Gandhi had to endure one of his furious lectures, when India tested her first nuclear device. Menon did not approve and did not wait to be asked his opinion about it! Mrs. Gandhi was informed of it in no uncertain terms! On her part, the Prime Minister was kind, very considerate and understanding of Menon.'
    -- Janaki Ram, in `V. K. Krishna Menon: A Personal Memoir', 1997, pp. 137-138.

    "Menon was critical of the representative of Untouchables at the Round table Conference, Ambedkar... He writes: `That representative demanded "separate electorates" which means that the Untouchables would have formed a group by themselves sending their members to the legislatures without any mixing up with the rest of the Indian people... The cure for untouchability is political and economic equality and that is what the Congress and Mr. Gandhi are aiming at.' Reservation was entirely self-defeating in its purpose, according to Menon. He felt that every effort should be made to prevent caste-based discrimination, by means of stringent laws if necessary. He did not believe that reservation would achieve anything but perpetuation of an evil system, that segregated people and served increasingly as a tool for political manipulations. Menon was once approached by an applicant... [He] told him that he belonged to a backward class. Menon's answer was typical: `Well, if you yourself think of yourself as backward, why should you expect me to recommend a backward fellow?' Menon introduced Mulk Raj Anand to Gandhi in a letter dated 21st June 1933: `Dr. Anand is one of our brilliant young men... I feel he has in his own way endeavoured to interpret the spirit of India and to give it to the world with integrity and individuality. He proposes to write a book on the Untouchables very soon and I feel certain that no one can write about the Harijans adequately without coming into contact with you.'"
    -- Janaki Ram, in `V. K. Krishna Menon: A Personal Memoir', 1997, pp. 75-76.

    Selected Bibliography

    1. `Condition of India: being a Report of the Delegation sent to India by the India League in 1932'; Members: Monica Whately MP, Ellen Wilkinson MP, Leonard W. Matters MP, and V. K. Krishna Menon; India League, London, 1933; Reprint: Vedams Books, New Delhi, 1999.
    2. Janaki Ram: `V. K. Krishna Menon: A Personal Memoir', Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1997.
    3. P. N. Haksar: `Krishna: As I knew him', Broadcast, All India Radio, 6th October 1974.
    4. Marie Seton: `Panditji: a portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru', Dobson, London, 1967.
    5. Michael Brecher: `India and World Politics: Krishna Menon's View of the World', Oxford University Press, New York, 1968.
    6. T. J. S. George: `Krishna Menon: A Biography', Jonathan Cape, London, 1964.
    7. Suhash Chakravarty: `V. K. Krishna Menon and the India League', India Research Press, New Delhi, 1997, 2 Volumes; V. K. Krishna Menon, India Today, 2000.
    8. Michael Brecher: `Nehru: A Political Biography', Oxford University Press, London, 1959. Abbreviated edition.
    9. K. C. Arora: `V. K. Krishna Menon: A Biography', Vedams Books, New Delhi, 1998.
    10. K. T. Varkey: `V. K. Krishna Menon and India’s Foreign Policy', Vedams Books, New Delhi, 2002.
    11. J. B. Kripalani: `My times: an autobiography', Vedams Books, New Delhi, 2004.
    12. V. R. Krishna Iyer: `Nehru and Krishna Menon', Konarak Publishers, New Delhi, 1993; `A political paradigm', The Hindu, 12 May 2002; `EMS of 1957 vintage', Frontline, 15(8), Apr. 11-24, 1998.
    13. V. K. Madhavan Kutty: `V. K. Krishna Menon', Publications Division, Government of India, New Delhi, s. d.
    14. Emil Lengyel: `Krishna Menon', Walker and Co., New York, 1962.
    15. P. V. Narasimha Rao: `Nehru and non-alignment', November 1989.
    16. Norman D. Palmer: `The 1962 Election in North Bombay', Pacific Affairs, Volume 36, Number 2, Summer 1963, pp. 120-137.
    17. Dean G. Acheson: `Present at the Creation: My years in the state department', W. W. Norton and Company, New York, 1969.
    18. Aloo J. Dastur: `Menon vs. Kripalani', University of Bombay, 1967.
    19. Somnath Chatterjee: `V. K. Krishna Menon Memorial Lecture', Town Hall, Ernakulam, Kerala, 6 Aug. 2005.
    20. Hugh Kay: `Salazar and Modern Portugal', Hawthorn books, New York, 1970.

  • Aruna Asaf Ali; Edatata Narayanan [എടത്തട്ട നാരായണന്‍]; Edatata Vishwanathan [എടത്തട്ട വിശ്വനാഥന്‍]: Link (weekly); Patriot (daily) (1958)
  • R. K. Karanjia: Blitz

  • Wikipaedia


    `Thank you ... for creating a web page in honour of Krishna Menon. He certainly deserves to be well remembered. And you are quite right in noting that his memory has dimmed considerably since his death 35 years ago.

    I have read with care the contents of the web page and think that you have done very well in communicating to an interested read some of the highlights of Mr. Menon's important contribution to India's struggle for freedom and his controversial role close to the peak of India's leaders from 1947 to 1962.

    Once more, I welcome your web page as a valuable source on Menon for users of the Internet who are not likely to read an entire book on Krishna Menon.'

    -- Michael Brecher, Private communication, 23rd March 2009.

    Dr. Michael Brecher was kind enough to offer his valued opinions and suggestions regarding this page. This is acknowledged with gratitude.

    © Nov. 2005. David C. Kandathil, Chempu, Vaikom (kandathil@gmail.com). All rights reserved.